By James Ker-Lindsay
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Extra info for An Island in Europe: The EU and the Transformation of Cyprus
Moreover, such a practice was a clear breach of the nondiscrimination principle contained in Article 14 of the Convention. In the aftermath of this decision, the Turkish Cypriots residing in the south can be included in the Greek Cypriot electoral system while Turkish Cypriots residing in northern Cyprus can cross the Green Line to vote in the south provided that they have registered there. With this decision, the Strasbourg Court not only acted as a guard of the bi-communal structure of the Republic since its judgment enhanced the electoral rights of the Turkish Cypriot citizens, but also indirectly enhanced the exercise of EU citizenship rights concerning the election of representatives to the European Parliament.
Brussels sought to overcome Turkish Cypriot resistance by stressing the considerable economic benefits that EU accession would bring to the island’s poorer Turkish Community. Based on a functional logic, the EU hoped that as soon as the Turkish Cypriots perceived the advantages of the EU accession more clearly they would automatically join the accession track. In the second place, Turkey’s accession prospects would encourage Ankara not only to soften its tone over the Cyprus’ issue but, as long as Turkey was interested in a future as an EU Member State, to show a more conciliatory attitude.
Given that the vast majority of Turkish Cypriots have not participated in the constitutional life of the Cyprus Republic since 1963 and that the relevant Cypriot Law 72/79 does not provide for any separate electoral list for the Turkish Cypriot community in view of the post 1974 status quo, the impediments for the exercise of such electoral rights become evident. Interestingly enough, the political rights of the Turkish Cypriot ethno-religious segment attached to the concept of citizenship of the Republic and to Union citizenship are effectively protected in the aftermath of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Aziz v.